I think I was born researching. I can imagine I was questioning life from the very first view of my parents. My dad reportedly said I looked like Ernest Borgnine, which I think means I hadn't decided what I thought of him either. My mom has always told me I came five years premature. How that is even possible has eluded me. (Something I need to research.) By the time I was seven, I had tested my younger sister's ability to survive, beginning with leaving her outside in the Iowan late winter and going through being the reason she cut her chin and nearly bit through her lower lip. When I was 4, I copied across the top of one of my pictures the word "Profoundly!" Need I say more?
By the time I was in sixth grade I was a research nerd. I loved it when our sixth grade science teacher had us write a research paper. I wrote mine on the golden plover and its migration habits (in case you are interested, they fly from northern North America to South America and back). Then, just because I loved that so much, I wrote a second one about the black plague. (Did you know that the most popular book at the end of the 13th century was "How to die"?) I absolutely devoured my family's 1962 Encyclopedia Americana. My summers included week-long projects with art and reading and writing - some my mom created, some I designed myself. When we would go on family trips, we kids would present information about where we would travel and find places where we should go. I would find the haunted houses and the art and history museums.
It doesn't seem a stretch that I would stay in academia and get three post-graduate degrees. Few things support a yearning to do research or storytelling like an academic career. But I found myself wishing to apply my writing and my research to something that would benefit those outside the ivory towers. And that is how I came to be here.